As the world is migrating to the internet, it has become more than what it was until a years ago. What started as a simple network to inter-connect a few systems is now a colossal web center-piece of interconnected networks, devices, and users. But, as the internet is taking shape as the centre-piece for the world – business, education, networking, storage, etc. Internet security is becoming a serious concern.
Every day, search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing blacklist thousands of websites for signs of malware and security threats. Today, we do so many things online – shopping, managing finances, trading, running a business and even for storing sensitive information. But for a hacker, all these are rewarding targets.
WordPress And Security
Over the past decade, WordPress has grown as one of the most popular platforms to develop websites. From contributors using it for their blogs, to businesses using it for their business profiles; WordPress is the people’s favorite for creating websites. However, apart from taking care of the website ranking and focusing on the audience, the one other thing that is very important is security.
For any website owner or developer, protecting their website from security threats is a primary concern. Having a website on a popular platform like WordPress offers you a great collection of benefits, but also puts you on the radar of hackers. Now, the bigger question is – How can you continue reaping the benefits of the platform while safeguarding your website/ portal or blog.
Why Would Someone Attack Your Website?
No matter if you think your blog small or irrelevant, for the hackers, it is merely a target. A target that they can use for their advantage. A hacker can benefit from your website, your traffic and the audience in numerous ways.
- Redirect the traffic to other URLs so as to boost the incoming traffic for those websites.
- Gather sensitive information about the users or to spread malware while using the credibility of your website as a cover.
- They can use your services for spamming and spreading illegal information while protecting their true identities.
All these not only affect your website ranking but also your reputation and revenue.
If the websites are so prone to security threats, one might question the integrity and security of the WordPress platform. To answer that – WordPress in itself is secure and keeps up with the standards to safeguard against attacks at best. However, it is the responsibility of the website administrators to keep up with the best practices and prevent themselves from such threats.
Professional SEO experts like Joel House Australia SEO emphasize the importance of internet security. And, resort to employing the best practices for implementing security protocols for their WordPress clients.
What Are The Best Security Practices?
- Keep your core WordPress platform updated
Like all other software and applications, the WordPress community is constantly upgrading, building better features and fixing bugs. Using an outdated platform puts you at high risk, as those loopholes might expose your website to threats. Thus, make sure to update your core application on a regular basis.
Furthermore, you should avoid uncovering the version of your WordPress application or any plugins you are running. This can prevent the hacker from violating your vulnerabilities.
- Secure administrative and user login from brute force attacks
One of the common practice among unauthorized users is using brute force attacks – using login credentials to gain unauthorized access. You can protect yourself with some robust security practices like the following
- Disable the default setting for unlimited login attempts – This would prevent hackers to use password generators or key serializer for guessing passwords.
- Two-factor authentication has become quite a popular choice for added security.
- Along with WordPress’s password analysis tools, you can use a complex password generator to enforce users to use robust passwords.
- Customizing your URL
By default, the admin section of a WordPress website can be accessed by appending ‘/wp-admin/’ or ‘/wp-login.php’ to the base URL. Customize it to prevent from being exposed to the outside world.
- Force log-out users that are trying to access restricted sections of the website. Also, it is a good practice to end idle sessions – so as to prevent attacks.
- Provide user accessibilities cautiously and secure the core application files like ‘wp-config.php’, ‘.htaccess’ etc. away from client accessible directories.
- Encrypt your data with SSL certificates
Alongside the basic web protocols providing the first level of protection, you can secure your data with additional security protocols and encryptions. Implement an SSL certificate to secure data during transit between the server and your clients. This would prevent the hackers from tapping into the channel or spoofing the info. SSL encryption is extremely important when sharing sensitive information or processing financial transactions.
- Don’t forget about backups and secure hosting
Even if you have built a fortress around your website, you cannot sit back carefree. The hackers are really smart and might figure out a weak spot. So, as a precautionary measure, maintain backups for your website periodically. Giving you an assurance to kickback online in case something happens. These days you can opt for secure cloud services like Azure, Google Cloud, etc. to maintain multi-location backups as well.
Furthermore, you could even use these for hosting your websites. These proprietary cloud solutions use multi-tier security, thus securing your host.
- Prevention against SQL injection
SQL injection attacks are among the most commonly used attacking strategy. Basically, the attacker embeds SQL queries within the requests which when processed by the server can lead to database modifications. A recommended mitigation for this is to change the database table prefix from the default ‘wp-’ to something unique.
Also, it is a good practice to monitor user activities and requests for any malicious patterns. There are a lot of tools and plugins that you can use to achieve it. If your website allows users to upload files, it would be advised to store them separate from your core application. And also, restrict upload of executable files and scan each upload resource with a robust firewall and malware scanner.
Web security is a vast pool and with a lot of aspects to consider. Though securing a WordPress website is not limited to the above best practices, these will help you establish a primary level security perimeter around your application. Opting for a professional perspective help lay down a robust infrastructure. Just like you invest in engaging your audience with your content, safeguard your investment by laying focus on its security.